In partnership with Blumhouse and Morgan Creek Productions, Universal acquired the worldwide rights to The Exorcist for $400 million with its sights set on a trilogy starring Leslie Odom Jr., Variety has learned.
Ellen Burstyn will reprise her Oscar-nominated role as Chris MacNeil in the 1973 film by the same name. Odom will play a father who tracks down MacNeil after his child becomes possessed.
David Gordon Green has been tapped to direct the first installment in The Exorcist trilogy. Green is well-versed in bringing back classic horror films for today’s audience. He previously helmed the 2018 Halloween reboot, and will serve as executive producer and reportedly direct a few episodes of the forthcoming Hellraiser series.
The staggering sum for The Exorcist trilogy reflects a recent trend where companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to wrangle films or simply IP for the sole purpose of adding it to its streaming service, and hopefully attracting more subscribers. It was reported in late March that Netflix spent over $400 million for two sequels to Knives Out that will be directed by Rian Johnson and star Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc. Amazon bought Coming 2 America from Paramount in October for $125 million.
According to the New York Times, these high prices are meant to cover the amount usually reserved for back-end payments that are received through box office performances. Similarly, MGM reportedly offered the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, to streaming giants, like Netflix, Apple, and Amazon, following its fourth delay for a one-year license of $600 million. The last two Bond vehicles have made over $800 million worldwide.
The first film in the trilogy is slated for a theatrical release on Oct. 13, 2023. The following two could go straight to the Peacock streaming service.